Dr Ross Babbage
ExpertiseSecurity challenges confronting Australia and its close allies
Dr Ross Babbage is Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Forum Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation committed to fostering high-level discussions and debates on the primary security challenges confronting Australia and its close allies.
Dr Babbage is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) in Washington DC. In addition he is Managing Director of Strategy International (ACT) Pty Ltd, a national security consulting and education service delivery organization.
Dr Babbage served as a special advisor to the Minister for Defence during the preparation of the 2009 Australian defence white paper. He also served on the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London for a maximum six-year term.
Dr Babbage served for 16 years in the Australian Public Service holding several senior positions, including Senior Strategic Analyst in the Office of National Assessments, and leading the branch in the Department of Defence responsible for ANZUS policy. Dr Babbage was Assistant Secretary, Force Development in the late 1980s, carrying responsibility for the analysis of all major defence capability proposals and the preparation of recommendations for the senior Defence committees and for Cabinet.
Through the 1990s, Dr Babbage moved to the corporate sector, working with the team that reformed and re-shaped the Office of Defence Production with its loss-making, government-owned defence factories. What emerged was a modern, profitable corporation known as ADI Limited that grew to become Australia’s largest defence company.
Dr Babbage has served a period as Deputy Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University (1987-1990) and also a period as Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (2001-2003).
As Founder, Chair and CEO of the Kokoda Foundation, he designed, developed and organized the first high-level Strategic Dialogues between Australia and the United States and subsequently he organized the first trilateral Strategic Dialogue between Australia, the United States and Japan.
Dr Babbage has Bachelor and Master degrees in economics from the University of Sydney and a PhD in International Relations from the Australian National University. Amongst his publications are: Game Plan: The Case for a New Australian Grand Strategy (Menzies Research Centre, Canberra, 2015), Countering China’s Adventurism in the South China Sea – Strategy Options for the Trump Administration (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Strategic Forum, Washington D.C. 2016) Winning Without Fighting: Chinese and Russian Political Warfare Campaigns and How the West Can Prevail (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Strategic Forum, Washington D.C.,2019), Stealing a March: Chinese Hybrid Warfare in the Indo-Pacific: Issues and Options for Allied Defence Planners (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Strategic Forum, Washington D.C.,2019) and Which Way the Dragon? Sharpening Allied Perceptions of China’s Strategic Trajectory, (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and Strategic Forum, Washington D.C., 2020).
Dr Babbage’s most recent book is: The Next Major War: Can the US and its Allies Win Against China? (Cambria Press, New York, 2023).
Dr Babbage was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia on 26 January 2011.